Xocoyotzin grew to young manhood at the Academy of Men. He learned the function of politics, which he came to understand as the collection of force at critical points.
"When I stand to speak," he would often say, "I do not want to hope I can win. I want to know I have already won."
He excelled in the give and take of the back-room debates. He watched carefully, even as a teenager, to see how the real powers formed coalitions around various issues, selecting this one, using him and then discarding him when he had used his credibility (and forfeited most of it) for their cause.
"Some men look at the history books to see where their name will be," Xocoyotzin thought more than once. "Other men enjoy the feeling of power in its exercise and look to the history books to see where their sons will fit."
He learned how the local political machines ran. He knew who was heard with a whisper and who could shout and never be noticed. He did superficial favors for the shallow men and kept the secrets of the deep runners.
Some confused him, since he could not discern their motives. He studied the much-talkers, only to learn some of them thought through their tongues. He learned the world-weary sigh of the cynic; the men who wore their despair like a heavy coat in hot weather.
Xocoyotzin, the governor-priest, had no family or riches. He would need sponsors among the movers. The shallow men would help him if he flattered them. The movers would have to notice his ability but he could not show them so much potential that they would mark him as a threat. His career might end before it began. Worse, he might be shuttled off to some remote, meaningless post, where he would be likely to fail and where success did not much matter.
"I could choose the commercial path," Xocoyotzin told his bunkmate, Tenocha. "There is a path to real power through riches."
"You will never, ever be happy there," Tenocha told him. "You might as well become a priest if you think you can go to anything beside the State House."
Xocoyotzin knew Tenocha was right. The royal suffix on his name doomed Xocoyotzin to strive for power.
He believed all great leaders were charismatics; persons who commanded by their presence. The Sephardim among his people lived by the written law. The word on the page was how they ordered government and sensed God. They were an extraordinarily capable people, sensual and pragmatic all at the same time. Able to offer an attractive glimpse into their souls without revealing one thing about their intentions, the Sephardim ruled as much of the land as they thought it wise to rule.
It was Xocoyotzin's great misfortune to meet one of them, a woman, and to lose his heart to her. She was completely compassionate and totally without generosity. She was acquisitive without greed, intentional but without hope.
She would one day help him die.
Writer's Note: Sermon helps are over at http://aintsobad.typepad.com/pastorspal/. At aintsbad, I am writing fiction now, as I have before. The Ahuizote series is a new one for me, like Dazzled, like the Citizen series, like the NeverEnding Game series. This is the ninth post in the series, as advertised and I am going to tell this story for awhile. It partakes of Mexian history, Jewish thought and, I hope, a good story.